Practicing Like Water

Practicing Like Water
click on the image to view the video


Lori Ersolmaz, film-maker, USA
Kate Marshall Flaherty, writer, Canada


Crumbs of sleep in my eye.
Dream residue.
I squeeze my lids tight,
burrow deeper
into the warm blanket-folds,
wanting to go back
where I am sharing a meal with you
at a sunny pine table.
Cascade Mountain through the glass.
No need to speak,
or hold hands,
peaceful silence dissolving
into one smile like water.

The weightless feeling still fluttering
in the cage of my ribs.
Why do we waken
with such longing, sometimes?
Have we been floating with angels?
Practicing for death,
in sleep?
Are we slipping into a pool
where dream and dreamer are one?
Are we each a cup of water
poured into the sea?

Lori Ersolmaz on the project

In February 2018, a friend and mentor who owns a spiritual center spent a few days with me in my new home. We share a love of the beach and when we were together symbolic events would magically appear right in front of our eyes. A turtle circled our beach chairs, a gigantic 3-foot jellyfish came ashore, and as seen in Practicing Like Water, an island-like sandbar appeared in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico, where at least a hundred birds were peacefully hanging out. My friend, Donna, walked gently through the bird oasis so as not to disturb their well-being and the birds simply moved aside with her every step. This went on for some time until eventually the sandbar was about to disappear and fall into the water. Suddenly the birds were spooked and flew upwards. In another scene, Donna, beautiful in a white bathing suit and hat floats like an angel. I filmed both scenes with my iPhone 6s Plus. It was the perfect tool for the spontaneity of those moments in the water.

Sometime during the summer I felt as if I needed to go back to my roots - when I first began creating filmpoetry. I listened to narrated audio for poems I saved from the now closed-down Poetry Storehouse website, a wonderful place where poets, filmmakers and remixers collaborated. The beautiful voice of Nic S., which first spoke to me in 2013, was also the impetus five years later which led me back to creating this piece. When I read Kate Marshall Flaherty's poem, it immediately resonated with me and I knew I had footage which would work well for the piece. Still I wasn't ready and the printed poem sat on my desk for months.

Suddenly one day in June, out of nowhere I felt compelled to organize footage for the poem and put together some sequences in a stream of consciousness manner. I knew I was missing imagery and sought some stock footage to fill in additional tone. Then I left it unfinished for at least a month. When I looked at the sequence again I was quite surprised to find that I had it in pretty good shape. The final edit took me about eight hours to complete. The original image sequences were not changed in any way. I added in stock fashion imagery from the Creative Commons and made color refinements. I didn't labor on it. I knew exactly when it was complete. I remember wondering if I could pick up on creating quality filmpoetry where I last left off. I feel this filmpoem is consistent with my other work in the genre.

Read the full article on the making of the video here.

Lori Ersolmaz
Lori Ersolmaz

Kate Marshall Flaherty on the project

I've always been fascinated with dreams, and I actually have several poetry dream sequences. I also give guided meditations, where we relax and go into that luminal state — that amazing threshold between sleep and waking — that place of the unconscious, of dreams and symbols. When I do my writing workshops, I always start with the meditation so that we can drag up some of those riches from the subconscious and alpha brain wave state and let it pour into our writing. Some will say that state is where we encounter the true self.

I wrote this particular poem after a very moving dream about an encounter with a dear old love. The dream was so vivid and the feeling so real that when I awoke I was in that luminal state — not sure if I was awake or still asleep and dreaming — and the feeling was so beautiful that I thought I had been visited by an angel or some wonderful part of myself, or perhaps the spirit of that first love. The dream left me with an incredible peaceful and radiant feeling.

Lori's images really capture that encounter with love and with self and with that incredible lightness of being. I think the music as well enhances the idea of calm and beauty; the lifting of birds so like a spirit taking flight.

Kate Marshall Flaherty
Kate Marshall Flaherty

Lori Ersolmaz video screenings and publications

2017: LiKE Festival, Kosice, Slovakia, Contemplating Hell curated program, Backward Like a Ghost, poem by Amy Miller.

2016: Anthology Film Archives, New York City, Homeopathy and Big Bridges, Audience Choice/Curated Selection.

2015: Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis MN, Big Bridges Exhibition, Grand Prize, Thirty Seven Photos From the Bridge, poem by Leonard Gontarek. Read about the making of the filmpoem.

2014: Poetry Storehouse First Anniversary Contest, First Place Winner, Backward Like a Ghost, poem by Amy Miller.

2014 to present: articles published on Moving Poems Magazine.


Lori Ersolmaz, founder of Voices of Hope Productions is a visual storyteller and multimedia content producer. Lori has diverse experience working with Fortune 200 corporations, nonprofit organizations and policy think-tanks on marketing, communication design and new media initiatives. She is also an Adjunct Professor. Lori advocates for a diverse media culture, rich with collective voices, illuminating stories not often heard in the mainstream media. Lori is an active social justice, education, health, environment and media reform advocate with a Master of Arts degree in Media Studies and Film from The New School, a university with a history of progressive thought and service to others. Lori uses her diverse skills, experiences and energy to develop multimedia content as a tool for dialogue and engagement.

Kate Marshall Flaherty is a poet, yoga instructor, teen retreat guide and one of the founding members of the Children's Peace Theatre. She has won awards for her poetry, including Word Magazine Poetry Prize, the Silver Hammer Poetry Award, THIS Magazine and Canadian Church Press Award. As well, she was shortlisted for Descant's Best Canadian Poem and the Pablo Neruda Poetry Prize. Katie was interviewed by Rosie Fernandez of CBC's 'Words At Large' for participating in National Random Acts of Poetry week, where she 'poemed' people in hospitals, cafes, parks, art galleries and yoga classes, giving away her first book published by Hidden Brook Press. She lives in Toronto with her husband and three spirited children. Katie teaches 'Writing as a Spiritual Practice' workshops, which says it all!
For their contributions, advice and assistance, thanks to:
Alison Pridham, Aljaž Koprivnikar, Ari Raijas, Bill Mousoulis, Brendan Bonsack, Brian Short, Bronwen Manger, Caroline Rumley, Charles Olsen, Chris Luscri, Chris Windmill, Claudia Larose-Bell, Darko Duilo, Dave Bonta, David Quiles Guilló, Eduardo Yagüe, Fiona Tinwei Lam, Francesca Guiliani, Gemma Grist, Helen Dewbery, Ian Gibbins, Ivana Bojanić, Jackson, Jane Glennie, Jim Robson, Karen Dawson, Kathryn Darnell, James Meetze, Lino Mocerino, Liran Shachar, Lois P. Jones, Lori Ersolmaz, Lucia Sellars, Lucy English, Luigi Starace, Maria Vella, Marc Neys, Martin Kelly, Matt Hetherington, Matt Mullins, Mike Hoolboom, Nigel Wells, Pam Falkenberg, Paul Casey, R.W. Perkins, Sissy Doutsiou, Sylvia Toy St Louis, Vicky Mousoulis, the film-makers, writers and their collaborators.